McNeil owes the public answers about Stephenson hiring

July 26, 2016

HALIFAX – NDP Leader Gary Burrill is calling on Stephen McNeil to provide evidence that appropriate policies were followed in the recent hiring of Marilla Stephenson as managing director of corporate and external affairs.

“Stephen McNeil has said that there is nothing out of the ordinary about this hiring process. Given this government’s loose relationship with the truth, it is reasonable for the people of the province to want some evidence to support this claim,” said Burrill.

Marilla Stephenson was hired on a personal service contract that concluded March 31, 2016. On April 12, 2016, Stephenson was consulted via email about the job description for the managing director of corporate and external affairs. Six pages of additional information concerning this issue were withheld from a freedom of information act request filed for by the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union. On May 11, 2016, Marilla Stephenson’s personal services contract was retroactively renewed, the day after the managing director posting was distributed. Without this last minute contract renewal, Stephenson would not have been eligible to apply for the position because the posting was limited to employees in the Executive Council Office.

The Public Service Commission has a Conflict of Interest Policy. The policy instructs employees to “not knowingly take advantage of, nor benefit from, information that is obtained in the course of their official duties and not generally available to the public.” It also requires employees to “withdraw from activities or situations in which they believe there could be a conflict of interest and… report in writing, to their manager, details of their actions and the perceived conflict.” The province’s Fair Hiring Policy also outlines under what circumstances positions outside the public service may be awarded without competition.

“Rules related to conflict of interest and fair hiring practices in the civil service exist to maintain public trust. Stephen McNeil permitted someone with questionable employment status to review a job description for a job that she was eventually awarded without an open competition. The public deserves to know whether a conflict of interest was declared and how fair hiring processes were upheld,” said Burrill.

You can view the documents referenced in this release here.


For more information, contact Kaley Kennedy at 902-229-6881.26